Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tomatoes and Zucchini and Cucumbers, Oh My!

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by the garden and every dish had tomatoes or zucchini or both. For a fun appetizer the hubby made a hummus style grilled zucchini-white bean dip to serve with some toasted whole wheat pita wedges. Then he made a zucchini based salad dressing that had tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. It was very tasty and very low fat. There is only 2 tablespoons of olive oil in 2 cups of dressing.

For our main dinner, we had the quick summer tomato pasta sauce from this post, using more tomatoes and zucchini. Cooking the garlic and shallots was the way to go. A salad with the the zucchini salad dressing completed the meal.

The pickle making continues. Today I canned 16 pints of pickled products bringing my total to 11 jars of bread and butter pickles, 11 jars of sweet pickle relish and four jars of dilly beans. So we won’t buying pickles or relish for the next year.

Making relish is a fairly time consuming process. On Thursday, I spent an hour and a half chopping cucumbers, peppers and onions into teeny-tiny cubes. All that time only yielded three pints! My Mom uses her food processor, but I was determined to have my relish be square, instead of chopped.

Today I started with a double batch of bread and butter pickles. After an hour slicing cucumbers, I was tired, but I stuck to my principles with the first batch of relish. Looking at the five pound pile of cucumbers still left to chop made me concede defeat, especially since right by my side, Steve was zipping through his dip and salad dressing in no time at all with the handy dandy food processor. Since it was already out…

Four quick pulses multiplied by four batches of veggies meant that the entire process took about five minutes instead of an hour and a half. Mom wins for pure practicality.

There is something so very satisfying about lounging on the couch after a long day of canning and hearing the pings and pops in the kitchen as the jars seal. There's another one.

The Recipes:

Grilled Zucchini-White Bean Dip

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced the long way
1 tablespoon Montreal seasoning
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat grill to medium. Place zucchini in a grill basket and spray with olive oil Pam and sprinkle with Montreal seasoning. Grill for five minutes, turning once, until slightly charred and fork tender. Place zucchini in food processor and add all the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Zucchini Salad Dressing

1 medium zucchini, peeled and sliced
1 large tomato, peeled and sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

Put all ingredients in a food processor and puree until vegetable are chopped very fine. Shake before serving.


Sharon said...

When did you graduate from Chenango Valley? I graduated in 1979 from CV. Do we know each other??? How funny! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'll have to follow your recipes...
And, by the way, Cortese's Pizza is the best...if you find out the "secret" recipe, please share it!!!!

Laurie said...


I graduated in 1981, so was a sophmore when you were a senior! We probably don't know each other because I was a very shy bookworm back then. Now I'm a less shy bookworm who interviews authors and writes literary stories - and food stories of course, for my local newspaper, the Cape Cod Times.

Cortese's is the best, and I promise if I can find the recipe, I will share. I still miss some of the food of my youth, and Cortese's is at the top of the list.

Keep in touch,